Hidden Oaks was the Fairfax County Park Authority's first nature center. It turns 50 in October. Here's a list of anniversary events that will take place on October 19.
Parking will be limited during these events.
Additional spaces are available at the Packard Center and at the playground in Annandale Community Park, 4020 Hummer Road, Annandale, Va.
Chain saw artist Andrew Mallon has created an art sculpture from the stump of a tulip poplar that was struck by lightning. He also carved seats and a bench out of portions of the tree's trunk. The area will be used for interpretative nature programs. The sculpture can be seen from both inside and outside the nature center. Its formal unveiling will take place during the center's 50th anniversary celebration.
Two electric bolts during a storm turned a 100-foot tulip poplar just outside the picture window at Hidden Oaks Nature center into an imminent danger to the building. The tree had been the focal point of the woodland view from the center. It was a feeding station for flying squirrels and many species of birds. Its loss was keenly felt by staff, park visitors and the nature center’s wildlife neighbors.
But the lightning assault did not damage the tree’s base. That was the knock of opportunity. Staff arranged for a ten-foot stump to remain for chainsaw artist Andrew Mallon, who will create a sculpture of critters that enjoyed the tree’s gifts over its 128-year life. The urban art will be the centerpiece of a learning station on natural woodland shelters, and the carving means the tree can be enjoyed for the next 20 years. Because it is near the nature center, the artwork will be easily accessible for all visitors.
Information about a fundraising campaign for the sculpture is at www.fohonc.com, the website of The Friends of Hidden Oaks Nature Center.
Community Corner (Tables near the nature center and pond)
Trail Between Hidden Oaks and Packard Center
Caroline Seitz is the founder and owner of Kids Nature Shows LLC and Reptiles Alive LLC. She has been a part of Hidden Oaks Nature Center since she was quite young. She has told us she will be forever grateful to Hidden Oaks Nature Center, especially to naturalist Nancy Cooley and the other staff who encouraged and supported her passion for wildlife, especially reptiles. She made her very first public live animal show at age 8 or 9 at an evening family program at Hidden Oaks and stayed on as a volunteer naturalist for many years. Through her volunteer experience she was able to build her dream career as a naturalist and wildlife educator. She will host a presentation about reptiles during the Hidden Oaks anniversary celebration.
The photos are Caroline through the years at Hidden Oaks, starting with one of her first shows at age 8 or 9. The second is from the 1980s. In the third, she is treating the display copperhead at Hidden Oaks while serving as a wildlife rehabber.
12000 Government Center Pkwy
Fairfax, VA 22035